Orange, Whiskey, and Maple Caramel Sauce


When I was in the Netherlands a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to bake and shoot with Renee Kemps, a fellow blogger I'd met at the Saveur Blog Awards. At the awards, she and I hit it off right away, mostly by camping out at the food table during the ceremony and helping ourselves to copious amounts of Wilma Jean's fried chicken and tequila shots. We then realized that we would have an opportunity to continue our adventures — it just so happened that a few weeks after the awards, I would be flying to Amsterdam, where Renee currently lives, for my sister's wedding. We excitedly made plans to bake and shoot together.

The initial plan was to make a traditional Dutch baked good; Renee was insistent that we make stroopwafel cookies (that is, an incredibly thin waffle sandwich pressed together with thick caramel syrup). But, well, that just didn't happen. We ended up with these shortbread-like sandwich cookies instead, along with the best caramel syrup I've ever made:


You can read all about our (mis)adventures over on Renee's blog and why we ended up with the cookies that we did. Also, if you haven't checked out her blog already, hurry over! Renee shot all the photos for this post (those callused and veiny rock-climber hands in the photo are yours truly), and, as you can see, is a crazy talented photographer and the well deserved winner of this year's Saveur's Best Food Photography - Editor's Choice Award. Not only is her blog visually stunning, but her incredibly sweet and kind personality just radiates through all her posts!

So get your butt over there:


And for now, I'll leave you with this quickie recipe for orange, whiskey, and maple caramel sauce:


Orange, Whiskey, and Maple Caramel Sauce

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Ingredients

For the Orange, Whiskey, and Maple Caramel Sauce:
(makes around 1 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whiskey
  • fresh zest from one medium-large orange

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Recipe

For the Orange, Whiskey, and Maple Caramel Sauce:
  1. Place 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup dark brown sugar into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. In a separate, smaller saucepan, combine 3/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup maple syrup and place over medium-low heat.

  2. As the sugar heats, you will see it start to melt around the edges and turn golden in color, around 2 to 3 minutes. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, nudge the sugar slightly on one side. You will see liquid caramel slowly move out from underneath the granulated sugar. Very slowly start to move the sugar into the liquid caramel. Don't rush this! If the caramel starts to look grainy, you're incorporating the sugar too quickly. If the caramel starts to smoke or get very dark, remove the pan from heat until the smoking subsides and replace on lower heat.

  3. Meanwhile, keep your eye on the cream and maple syrup mixture. You want it to come to a boil just when the sugar reaches the liquid caramel stage, so adjust the timing accordingly by raising or lowering the heat underneath the mixture. If the mixture comes to a boil too early, don't be afraid to remove it from the heat.

  4. When the sugar has completely melted and is dark amber in color, remove from the heat and pour in the cream — it will bubble substantially. When the caramel has settled down, stir the mixture until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and stir until smooth, about 30 seconds.

  5. Whisk in 1 teaspoon whiskey and zest from one medium-large orange. Transfer the caramel into a heatproof jar or container and let cool completely — as it cools, it will thicken considerably. The caramel sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
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All photos in this post were taken by Renee Kemps — you're the best, lady! 

32 comments

  1. I love that you two got to spend some time baking together - what a total blast + I so agree with everything that you say about Renee's gorgeous photographs (and personality!). Also, I can't tell you how much I love the idea of this caramel sauce. I want to pour this over everything that I eat.

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  2. Katie @ Butterlust BlogJuly 14, 2015 at 2:13 PM

    Spanning the continent for the sake blogging, I love it! (Ok, and a very important wedding, too.) But still - SO COOL! This caramel sauce looks divine! And don't be silly, your hands do too. ;) XO

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  3. omg those cookies look amazing.

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  4. AH yes, tequila and fried chicken. My two vices. Along with dessert. lol

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  5. Jessie Snyder | Faring WellJuly 14, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    I just think its the coolest that you two got to do this! So pretty and a mighty tasty looking fail, I love your guys' version! <3

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  6. Aw, it looks like you ended up making something really delicious out of the stroopwafel dough (: The caramel oozing out of the cookies looks so good!

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  7. Brooke @ Chocolate + MarrowJuly 14, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    This is so fun that y'all got to hang together and cook and bake! Love the photos and ummmm I want to put this on like everything :)

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  8. I love this, Michelle! Renee's photos are stunning, and this caramel?! Amazingness. <3

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  9. I think it is so awesome you guys did a post together, that is so fun!! And yes, I completely agree that Renee's photos are perfection, but girl, yours are too! :)


    Anyway, nice job on the cookies! I want them all!

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  10. what a stunning collab! and is there anything more stunning than pouring caramel sauce? can't think of it.

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  11. Canadian sweet toothJuly 15, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    Hi, I am excited about your recipe - thank you! I did run into some trouble with the white chocolate starting to burn after only 10 min, so I am thinking that it should be dded towards the end of the baking process.

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  12. Yes! I wish we all lived closer together so we can do collaborations like this; I'd love to see you make one of your tasty vegan treats!

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  13. I wish we'd gotten to do something like this when I still lived in PDX! Maybe wehn I move back, yes? xoxo

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  14. Aw, thanks Tieghan, that's so sweet of you to say! I love your photos too — I wish we could all be in the same place so we could collaborate together!

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  15. I LOVE THIS COLLAB. You are awesome. Renée is awesome. Combined you two are pretty much magic. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that these cookies and THAT caramel sauce are perfection. Also, I totally agree with everything you said about Renée. She radiates kindness and her photos are insane!!

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  16. This collaboration makes me SO SO HAPPY!! How amazing that you were in the Netherlands and how incredible that two of my favs were able to meet up! This is amazing from top to bottom, I love it too much. And the flavors in this caramel sauce are unbelievable. I second Kathryn, I want it on errrrthang. Too amazing, Michelle!

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  17. Hahha yes! I would totes make you some but it'd probably be a pain in the butt to travel back home with. Can't wait to hang out tomorrow night!

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  18. Haha - I am always so jealous of the bloggers who manage to have lovely manicured hands in their photos - i have totally beat up lumberjack hands! I can just see this syrup oozing down the sides of a bundt cake - yum!

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  19. Hey, those still look real real good!

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  20. Delightful on every level. Now, come to Australia pleez.

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  21. Thank you SO, SO much, Michelle! You're the absolute sweetest. <3 If you're ever in France we must meet up!

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  22. This is so cute! I'm glad y'all had a little baking date! I want this caramel sauce on eerrrythang

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  23. Meeting blogger friends is pretty great---and internationally must be even more exciting! I would be right there by the fried chicken, too...I mean, that's how you meet people, right?

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  24. Hi!
    Love the recipe and I can't wait to try it! Can I use other alcohol such as vodka instead cos I don't have whiskey at home :(

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  25. Yes you can, but it'll taste different since vodka is more flavorless than whiskey :-)

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  26. sure! thanks so much (:

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  27. Our Food StoriesJuly 20, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    love this post!! so great that you guys met!! and the caramel sauce looks and sounds amazing <3

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